NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and an Albuquerque-based organization are teaming up to help human trafficking victims.
“Human trafficking not only affects New Mexico, but when it does affect individuals, it’s devastating. It’s individuals who are coerced into doing things that they don’t want to do for someone else’s profit or gain,” said Attorney General Special Counsel Adolfo Mendez.
The Attorney General’s Office mentioned human trafficking is a problem in New Mexico, and that’s why they created a new app called ‘REACH‘ with the help of New Mexico Dream Center (NMDC), a non-profit that provides trafficking victims the services they need.
“Certainly, victims can look at it, but I think it’s really geared to help people that are trying to connect victims to services that they need,” said Mendez.
Law enforcement officers, service providers, victims, and the general public around the state can turn to the app for resources. On the app, they can find help for drug treatments, housing, mental health support, and more to help victims break the cycle.
“We resource mapped the entire state of New Mexico county by county. In that mapping, we were looking for agencies that served vulnerable populations,” said NMDC CEO Shelley Repp.
Those who visit the web app can look at a mile radius which will show services near them. NMDC added this will help bridge a gap by providing better knowledge on what help victims can receive.
“One of the issues, when you’re working with somebody who has survived human trafficking, is they don’t usually realize that they are even a victim of a crime. It’s not likely that they would look for services, but those who are able to identify them and want to reach out for services, it’s a great tool for them,” said Repp.
The app went live on March 31. It was created with the help of a grant awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to NMDC, in 2022 there were an estimated 500 human trafficking victims served by all service providers in New Mexico. Organizers hope the app will grow and discover more providers in the state.